May 27, 2024

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CD review: Evan Parker, Matthew Wright, Trance Map+ with Peter Evans, Mark Nauseef – Etching The Ether – 2023: Video, CD cover

Trance Map+ is an electro-acoustic formation in constant motion. Founded by electronic musician, turntable player and sound designer Matt Wright and saxophonist Evan Parker, the band is in a constant process of transformation, renewal and expansion, both conceptually and also due to fluctuations in personnel.

This recording reunites the British saxophonist Evan Parker and his fellow countryman, the electronic musician, turntablist and sound designer Matthew Wright.

Together, they are Trance Map, a project in constant mutation. As usual, ambiguity and experimentation prevail, with two talented guest musicians helping them build something unique on the spur of the moment. The participation of trumpeter Peter Evans and percussionist Mark Nauseef, and the way they deal with sound and texture, makes Etching the Ether a much more exciting record than the previous, Crepuscule in Nickelsdorff (Intakt, 2019).

Putting today’s technology at their service, the foursome begin their inexhaustible post-jazz excursion with “At Altitude”, combining high-pitched whistles, droning electronics, infinite soprano roundabouts, growling trumpet multiphonics, sparse gong vibrations, and a mix of tinkling, rattling, and metallic percussion sounds.

With tense layers of sound as their grooves, and a fusion of circularity and obliqueness as their language, “Drawing Breath”, at nearly 21 minutes, is an instigation with breadth of vision. There’s an intensification of the percussive tract at an early stage and a buzzing tapestry over which Evans unpacks swift trumpet phrases with an excitable temperament. Parker joins him to probe orbicular and elliptical trajectories that, occurring in parallel, create an intensively flickering stimulus on the ear. Riffing in ecstasy, they reach magnitudes of sound whose color, shape and motion are difficult to anticipate. By the end, electronic murmurations accommodate dark synth-like waves and noisy patterns of different pitches.

For “Engaged in Seeking”, the leaders gave full rein to Nauseef, who created an elusive background in post-production. He contributes heavily to a wider and deeper dimension of the music, whose intensities are masterfully commanded by Parker and Evans. They reach a climax before the quiet finale, with the trumpeter stretching erratically over a granular texture. This stirring, free-flowing ride is best experienced in sequence.

Evan Parker: soprano saxophone;

Matthew Wright: live electronics, sound design;

Peter Evans: trumpet, piccolo trumpet;

Mark Nauseef: percussion.

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